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Published: Wednesday, 8/25/2004

Oregon: Water from city is on tap at school


Needing to get a drink from a water fountain is now a valid excuse for Jerusalem Elementary School students wanting to escape a spelling test.

The school's fountains were squirting clean, cool city water Tuesday in time for the first day of class, said John Gilliland, assistant superintendent of business affairs and operations for Oregon city schools.

The school at 535 South Yondota Rd. had been without tap water for about three years after it was found that its well water had become contaminated, forcing the school to shut down the drinking fountains and to use bottled water for cooking and drinking.

"Our water samples were coming back unfavorably," Mr. Gilliland said. "The parents were concerned about well water as a source of water. As a result, we were looking for an alternative water source, and city water was the answer."

Having city water available for the school is important because it ensures a safe water supply for students, he added.

City water was available for the fountains and several newly-installed fire hydrants at the elementary school because the Oregon Board of Education accepted a bid from Erie Welding and Mechanical Contractors Inc. in February to tap into the new city waterline running in front of the elementary school building. It cost about $23,500.

The waterline is part of a $1.3 million, 3.2-mile pipeline project in which was constructed a 16-inch diameter line extending Oregon city water along State Rt. 2 from North Curtice Road to the school on Yondota Road.

To help pay for the project, which took just under a year, the school secured a $500,000 federal emergency grant from the Ohio Schools Facility Commission, Mr. Gilliland said.

To avoid contamination risks, he said the school's wells were shut down and the city water will be used for the water supply to the building.

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